Secondly, you’ve probably heard the term “singularity” or “technological singularity.” This term has been used in math to describe an asymptote-like situation where normal rules no longer apply. It’s been used in physics to describe a phenomenon like an infinitely small, dense black hole or the point we were all squished into right before the Big Bang. Again, situations where the usual rules don’t apply. In 1993, Vernor Vinge wrote a famous essay in which he applied the term to the moment in the future when our technology’s intelligence exceeds our own—a moment for him when life as we know it will be forever changed and normal rules will no longer apply. Ray Kurzweil then muddled things a bit by defining the singularity as the time when the Law of Accelerating Returns has reached such an extreme pace that technological progress is happening at a seemingly-infinite pace, and after which we’ll be living in a whole new world. I found that many of today’s AI thinkers have stopped using the term, and it’s confusing anyway, so I won’t use it much here (even though we’ll be focusing on that idea throughout).
Special project courses cover topics not otherwise covered by general education courses and other courses in the Catalog for the discipline. These courses require direct experience and focused reflection in an in-depth study of a specific discipline topic and/or the critical analysis of contemporary issues in the discipline. They are targeted to self-selected students with an interest in the subject matter and involve active participation. The course delivery incorporates an experiential component of no less than 30 percent but not to exceed 70 percent (to be determined by the disciplines). This experiential component may include field studies, interdisciplinary learning, and/or the practical application of discipline-related concepts, theories, principles and methods with a specific focus. All courses require an orientation session to deliver academic and experiential information (syllabus, academic requirements, field preparation, logistics, etc.) This course may be taken four times for credit. Prerequisite: Course requires Reading Placement Test Score-Category One.